The town council had received several complaints about speeding traffic coming into Westbury and the town council resolved to purchase four speed activated signs to make drivers aware of their speed and slow them down on the approaches to the town.
The signs not only warn drivers of the speed limit they are travelling in but also record the date time and speed of every vehicle that triggers the radar. The data is recorded is of every vehicle passing a sign even if they are within the set speed limit for the road being monitored. This information can be used to create a report showing all the data – speed, number of vehicles, date & time weather they break the speed limit or not.
Although the data collected can be used for indicative purposes no direct enforcement action can be taken as a result of it. The information gathered is passed on to the police and Highways team at Wiltshire council and can help build a picture of areas that may require special attention.
These are new tools to help monitor traffic, encourage safer driving, and highlight problem areas. It will take time to learn how to use them efficiently and to gather enough data to make meaningful comparisons.
At this time, the data is collected every eight weeks and monthly reports will be generated. Over time it will be possible to compare data to events that may increase traffic through the town. Such as Bath’s clean air zone or the incinerator project.
A total of four signs are running at set locations of the town. The signs require a clear straight road and a post to mount it on, this combination is quite difficult to find in Westbury but if a request is made to the town council that a certain area needs monitoring, then it is possible to relocate one of the signs temporarily. It can however take time to get the permissions from Wiltshire Council and the location finalised.
To gain comparative data the signs are occasionally put into stealth mode where the radar is triggered and records all data, but the sign fails to light up to warn the vehicle they are in a speed restricted area. This process allows a comparison to be made to how the driver’s behaviour is altered due to the sign’s intervention.